Sleepwater Static


Loved it! 😍

Sleepwater Static offers a glimpse at the not-too-distant-future while also delivering fully-formed characters and a gripping storyline.

Sleepwater Static is the first book I've read in this series by Kathrin Hutson, and, as the description notes, it does work as a stand-alone novel--at least until the ending. As with any good second book in a series, Sleepwater Static provides enough backstory to help a new-to-the-series reader jump in.

While dystopian literature might seem a bit grim in the midst of a pandemic, the novel is hopeful in many ways. After all, the book opens with the impending birth of Skye, and how can the birth of a new child not be seen as a metaphor for a new beginning? And, the themes and issues regarding racism and homophobia, as well as "fear of the other" are timeless. Many points in the book seem especially relevant to the current chaos in the world:

People say there's a fine line between genius and insanity. You've heard that before, right? I swear to God, Bernie, there's a fine line between everything else right now too. Love and Hate. Freedom and imprisonment. Tenderness and cruelty. The truth and so much fucking bullshit.

The book is a fast read, and even though we flip back and forth between narrative and emails, past and present, Hutson gives plenty of context clues to show us when we are in Bernie's past. The flashbacks are part of the charm--there's just enough detail here about Bernie, Darrell, Donna, and Janet to entice the reader to go back to the first novel in the series. Even with those hints to the past, though, the novel almost reads like the first in the series--that's how well-constructed the book is.

The one down-side is that the ending seems rushed and makes it such that the book is glaringly a "middle child" and part of a series. While a cliffhanger is necessary to keep a series going, this novel is so concentrated in scope--presenting one main scene in the present--that the novel feels a bit unfinished. I am hooked, though, and will keep an eye out for the third book--my main hope is it won't be long before we're reunited with Bernie and her family.

For now, I'll just have to circle back and pick up Sleepwater Beat while I wait for the next installment.

Reviewed by

Angelic Rodgers lives in L.A. (Lower Arkansas) with her wife, two unruly cats, and two codependent dogs. She is currently working on her sixth novel. You can keep up with her at and on social media (contact points are on her site).

About the author

International Bestselling Author Kathrin Hutson has been writing dark fiction since 2000. Tainted heroes, excruciating circumstances, impossible decisions, and Happily Never After. Author of The Unclaimed trilogy, the Gyenona's Children duology, and the Blue Helix series. Member of SFWA and HWA. view profile

Published on May 26, 2020

Published by Exquisite Darkness Press

90000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Dystopian

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